Defiant NKorea fires two missiles

SEOUL: North Korea Tuesday fired two short-range missiles, one day after staging a nuclear test which sparked world anger, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said.

The North launched one ground-to-air missile and one ground-to-ship missile into the sea off its east coast near the city of Hamhung, it quoted a South Korean government source as saying.

"Intelligence authorities are analysing the motives for the firing," the source was quoted as saying, adding each missile had a range of 130 kilometres (80 miles).

Military officials declined to comment on what they called intelligence matters.

The news agency earlier reported that the North had declared a shipping exclusion zone off its west coast.

"North Korea has declared an off-limits area for vessels in the Yellow Sea off Jungsan county in South Pyongan province," it quoted a source as saying.

"The North is likely to fire short-range missiles today or tomorrow."

The communist state Monday staged its second underground nuclear test, with an explosive force much larger than the first in October 2006.

It also fired three short-range ground-to-air missiles Monday from locations near its east coast, Seoul's military said.

Several times in recent years, the North has test-fired short-range missiles in either the Yellow Sea or the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

The exercises are often staged to coincide with periods of regional tension.